Alcantarea imperialis

One of the giant bromeliads Alcantarea imperialis (syn. Vriesea imperialis) is a tropical to sub tropical plant if grown outdoors and it is a magnificent specimen plant.

Alcantarea imperialis Rubra
Alcantarea imperialis Rubra

One of the giant bromeliads, and previosly named Vriesea imperialis, this is imposing in stature, reaching nearly 6ft (2m) in height, broad spreading leaves, and a brilliant feature plant in the garden.

It is suited to USDA zones 9-11 although given a very protected position and the right microclimate in can take a little lower.

usually grown as single specimen plant it makes a good focal point grown in containers or in the garden.

Basic Care requirements for Alcantarea imperialis

Like most bromeliad species moisture, good drainage and warmth are the main requirements. Below is a basic guide to growing this plant

  • A free draining soil to potting mix is essential
  • A position in full sun to a little shade is best. This is a plant that needs good sun to bring out the best colours in the foliage.
  • Provide humidity of around 70%, which is fairly high.
  • Water in the central cavity is essential and hard water is not suitable. So rain water or similar.
  • A foliage fertilizer applied by mist spraying in spring every 2 weeks will enhance foliage growth.

In most cases once Alcantarea imperialis flowers it stops producing leaves and will die. By this time it should have produced offsets or pups.

A few Alcantarea imperialis hybrids are available notably:

  • A.imperialis ‘Julieta’ aka ‘Purple Julieta’. 
  • A. imperialis rubra has more red in the foliage.
  • A. imperialis Purpurea also has strong colour